Facial Redness: Causes And Cures

by Gio
facial redness causes

Facial redness can be cute. A subtle blush when someone mentions your crush is adorable. That rosy hue on your cheeks after a brisk walk in the cold gives you a healthy glow.

But what if the facial redness never goes away? What if it’s not a healthy pink red, but a bright red that makes you look like a lobster day after day?

And then there are all the shades of red in between. A flaky red when you’ve spent too much time in the sun. A reddish pink when your skincare has irritated your skin badly.

If you want to make it go away, you’d better know what’s causing it. Here are all the main causes of facial redness + how to treat each one so your skin goes back to its natural, healthy hue:

Facial Redness Cause #1: Rosacea

Rosacea is a common condition (or a curse) that mainly affects the face. But, you can get it on your ears, chest, and neck, too. Flushing is the first symptom to appear. It’s followed by burning and stinging,  spots (papules and pustules), and visible blood vessels, too.

I wish I had a miracle pill for you to swallow. The sad truth is, there isn’t a cure for rosacea – yet. But, there are a couple things you can do to keep it under control:

1. AVOID KNOWN TRIGGERS

Here are the main culprits:

  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Hot drinks
  • Stress
  • Unprotected sun exposure
  • Strenuous exercise

2. USE A PRESCRIPTION PRODUCT

The best ones are:

  • Finacea: It contains azelaic acid, which helps reduce redness and bumps.
  • MetroCream: It contains metranidazole, an antibiotic that can kill demodex folliculorum and other microorganisms that can play a role in the development of rosacea.
  • Mirvaso Gel: This can help treat chronic redness, but shouldn’t be taken if you have any problems with your circulatory system.

For more tips on how to treat rosacea + my fave OTC skincare products that will keep it in check, read my post on rosacea here.

Related: How To Treat Rosacea

Facial Redness Cause #2: Allergic Contact Dermatitis

When you touch something you’re allergic to, your body sounds the alarm, turning your skin bright red. It makes your face itch and swell, too.

There’s only one thing to do here. Avoid the trigger. If you don’t know what it is, go to the doctor and have patch tests done. You can’t avoid the enemy if you can’t even name it!

Related: Skin Allergy Or Irritation?


Want to know what ingredients you really need to avoid in your skincare products? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Skincare Ingredients To Avoid” cheatsheet:


Facial Redness Cause #3: Over-Exfoliation

Exfoliation is one of the pillars of good skincare. It removes the dead cells on the surface of the skin, making it look smoother and brighter – instantly.

But when you overdo it and remove ALL your dead cells, you’ll expose the raw skin underneath that wasn’t ready to come to the surface just yet. Ouch! Now your face is red. It hurts, too.

The key here is moderation. You should totally exfoliate, but NOT daily as some magazines and brands tell you to. That’s overboard for everyone.

So how often should you exfoliate? It depends on your skin type:

  • Combination skin: Use Salicylic Acid (BHA) 2/3 nights a week.
  • Dry skin: Use Glycolic Acid 2/3 nights a week.
  • Normal skin: Use Glycolic Acid once or twice a week.
  • Oily skin: Use Salicylic Acid (BHA) every other night.
  • Sensitive skin: Use Lactic Acid once or twice a week.

Best Picks:

Related: How To Choose The Best Exfoliator For Your Skin Type

Facial Redness Cause #4: Excessive Sun Exposure

We’ve all been there. The hot sun invited you out to play and you were having so much fun, you forgot to reapply your SPF. Or you fell asleep at the beach and forgot to top up your sunscreen. Now you look like a flaking lobster. 🙁

Sunburn is a pain. But it’s easy to treat and prevent. And you do want to prevent it. Sunburns increase your risk of developing skin cancer, so don’t take them lightly. Here’s what you can do about them:

1. TREAT A SUNBURN WITH ALOE VERA GEL

The Journal of Ethnopharmacology confirmed what we all already knew: aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe inflamed and irritated skin. While it’s at it, Aloe Vera also moisturises skin, making it softer. This helps with the peeling that always comes along with sun damage, too.

Best Picks:

2. WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY TO PREVENT SUNBURNS

Sunburns don’t happen just at the beach. UV rays are present all year round, from the second the sun comes up to the second it goes down. They can penetrate through clouds and even get reflected on snow. Don’t risk it!

Wear yourself every single day, even if you’re staying indoors.

Best Picks:

  • Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($36.00):available at Sephora
  • EltaMD UV Pure BroadSpectrum SPF 47 ($24.50): available at Dermstore and Walmart
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection SPF 50 Sunscreen + WetForce For Sensitive Skin & Children ($42.00): available at  Nordstrom and Ulta

Related: 4 Ways To Treat A Sunburn Naturally

What’s causing your facial redness and how are you dealing with it? Share your tips in the comments below.

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6 comments

Citrine September 28, 2009 - 5:53 pm

lol at the picture you used…I think a lot of time my face is red (it’s more of a pinkish tone) is just because it’s pink to start with…

Reply
Vonvon September 29, 2009 - 1:35 am

Hi gio,

Another great post! Very informative.
.-= Vonvon´s last blog ..Review: Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Hair Care =-.

Reply
Tavia September 29, 2009 - 12:03 pm

About this facial redness, girls you can try the treatment from Academie ( I wrote all about it on my blog) against redness and it’s really good.
.-= Tavia´s last blog ..Review – Anti-hair loss treatment concentrate by Intragen Cosmetic Trichology =-.

Reply
beautifulwithbrains September 29, 2009 - 2:15 pm

Citrine: yeah, that’s probably it, sometimes there’s not really a reason why skin is red 🙂

Vonvon: thanks, I’m glad you find it useful 🙂

Tavia: thanks for the suggestion, it sounds great!

Reply
Carina August 3, 2010 - 9:43 pm

Great post! I know this is kinda gross, but could you write about skin infections in general; and specific cures to that ailment?

Reply
beautifulwithbrains August 4, 2010 - 8:16 am

Carina, of course I can. 🙂 Is there anything specific you want me to start with?

Reply

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